People sometimes ask, "Do you have a favorite place that you like to photograph dogs?" My answer is, yes!
Think about this... If your high school senior is active in debate club and wants to study law, creating senior pictures for them on the football field wouldn't say much about their personality. In fact, it would be a little confusing to look at. Likewise, if your senior is goth, senior pictures taken in a botanical garden wouldn't let their unique personality shine like a more industrial setting or even wooded area would.
These examples show that sessions need to represent the subject and not just be at a location simply because the photographer likes to shoot there.
With dogs, the location first needs to be safe. Second, it needs to compliment their personality. And, third it needs to be comfortable for them.
I did a photoshoot with Downtown Henry a few weeks ago at the Arc of Dreams. Henry is a downtown Sioux Falls dog and he's very comfortable there. If I had taken a dog who isn't use to the downtown area cars, shops, and all the people, there would have been all kinds of distractions as well as anxiety for that dog.
Before a session I always ask a ton of questions about the dog that I'm going to photograph. I also ask questions about things that they do with their pet parents. This helps so much with ideas for creating images, but also about where we might want to go for the session.
If a dog loves to hike with their owner, then I want to be out on the trails. The dog will give me their best self out there. If they're a dock diving dog, there is no place they'd rather be than on the dock (then in the water, then on the dock, then.....you get the idea.) Part of that session definitely needs to be at the dock.
I do have certain places that I think are great for larger dogs and a couple that are perfect for smaller breeds, but honestly, if you ask me,
"Do you have a favorite place to photograph dogs?"
I'm going to tell you
...with their human of course.
Dogs are happiest with their human, and the rest is icing on the cake.
This post is part of a blog circle so if you'd like to see what other pet photographers have to say about favorite locations start with Elaine Tweedy of I Got the Shot Photography, always sniffing out great locations in Northeastern PA and surrounding areas.